The problem with being dubbed the red light district of a city is that people tend to assume that there’s only one thing to do in a place. That’s hugely untrue if you’re talking about Geylang and Geylang Serai, though, as this area actually has quite a lot to offer the intrepid adventurer!
To prove it, we’ll give you a list of 4 cool things to do in this area that don’t involve visiting buildings with red house numbers. Let’s start with visiting the Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang East Ave!
Check out the Sri Sivan Temple
The Sri Sivan Temple is one of the best-known Hindu temples on the island. Dedicated to the god Shiva, it’s a pretty impressive structure and was expected to cost around $6 million to build around the nineties!
Poojas or worship rituals tend to happen daily and the temple is very well taken care of so it always looks presentable despite the heavy traffic. Visit it if you like Hindu architecture and don’t forget to check out the shiva lingam near the entrance.
Shop and eat at Geylang Serai Market
This is personally among our favourite things to do in the area. The Geylang Serai Market has a lot to offer happy shoppers, especially in terms of herbs, spices, and Malay products.
That’s probably because there’s a big Malay community in the area. You’ll see this too in the food stalls in the market, which also include a lot of Indian and Muslim fare, and which are definitely worth sampling!
Interestingly enough, you can come here to get a tonne of other products too, even those not related to food. It’s easy to find clothing here, for instance, as well as household wares.
Because of this, it can get fairly crowded. Still, vendors tend to be efficient and helpful, so there should be few issues getting what you want - once you’ve decided on it, that is! There are so many choices that picking something to buy can be a challenge.
See the treasure trove of pre-owned items at City Plaza
Like getting bargains through pre-owned items? Geylang has just what you need, then, in the form of City Plaza.
On the surface, this place looks like pretty much your average mid-sized mall, but it’s actually a bit different from most. In fact, walk in and you’ll see that most of the stores aren’t for franchises but unique shops.
Most of them sell pre-owned items lovingly picked for resale. Most of the goods are still of very good quality, though it varies from one item to another, so be sure to give them a good inspection first!
In particular, we like to come here to pick up pre-owned mobiles and other gadgets. You’ll often see younger shoppers - often people in their teens - coming here to buy knockoffs of their favourite fashion items too.
Snap photos of Peranakan architecture for the Gram
Geylang actually has a tonne of Peranakan-style buildings, most of them even boasting conservation status. From shophouses to temples, it offers a lot of opportunities for trigger-happy photography nerds or Instagram content creators.
Our advice is to actually meander around some of the lorongs to get better vantage points of the structures. This will also help you get unique shots of Peranakan buildings that aren’t among the ones that people usually take photos of.
Very often, you’ll even find Peranakan shophouses on the back streets instead of the main ones, just waiting for you to snap a quick shot!
Want more ideas for where to go in Geylang and Geylang Serai?
If this taste of what the area can offer isn’t enough, you can try our guide to Geylang. In it, we put together a walking tour that everyone in the area can try… and it’s arguably even more enjoyable than the itinerary we’ve already put together here.
It covers a range of sights and activities from checking out new-age barber shops to sampling frog’s legs porridge and delectable durian. Basically, it’s the perfect guide for people who want to see what else the red light district can offer.
Just download it to follow our itinerary for a walking tour of Geylang!